10/18/07 — Vaccine charges increase at Health Department's clinics

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Vaccine charges increase at Health Department's clinics

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 18, 2007 1:50 PM

The Board of Health on Wednesday approved an increase to vaccine charges at the Health Department, as officials announced they have "plenty of vaccine" on hand.

The fee change comes just in time for Friday's flu clinic.

Health Director James Roosen said the Health Department has 3,200 vaccines available for adults and 200 for children, as well as state-supplied vaccines for children who qualify.

Cost for the flu shot rose $5 from last year, making it $25. The pneumonia vaccine, meanwhile, was increased from $30 to $45.

Friday's clinic will be held at the Health Department from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Appointments are not necessary, but to expedite the process, individuals are requested to report based on their last name.

The suggested schedule is for those whose name begins with A-F to come between 8 and 10 a.m.; G-L, 10 a.m. until noon; M-R, 12-2 p.m.; and S-Z, 2-4 p.m.

Registration forms are also available online by accessing the county Web site.

The board also approved a change to the Health Department's dental clinic payor mix, an effort to reverse a financial deficit last year.

"We had about a $11,000 loss last fiscal year," Roosen said.

Currently, the dental clinic's patient ratio is 80 percent insured and 20 percent fee for service. Under Roosen's proposal, the breakdown will be 90 percent who are insured and 10 percent fee for service.

The Health Department is also looking at other ways to contain the loss, including reducing mailings and translator time in the dental clinic.

"Another thing that we have done is, we're requesting that people pay when services are rendered," Roosen said. "We're hoping that with cost containment, revenue may turn the tide."

Further complicating things, though, is the clinic's sole dentist, who plans to take maternity leave during January and February, he added.